Families of deadly 2012 Linden protest already compensated – lawyer

0

The families of the men killed during a 2012 protest in Linden, Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) had already collected millions in compensation under the previous government, their attorney Darren Wade confirmed.

Nonetheless, the families are now suing the State for $450M.

When asked this morning if the government will be fighting the case, Attorney General Basil Williams, who is listed as the respondent, offered no comment.

Wade, the families’ attorney, is a candidate on the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change candidates’ list for the upcoming elections.

He is representing the relatives of Ron Somerset, Shemroy Bouyea and Allan Lewis, who were killed during the incident in 2012.

A prominent attorney told this publication that suing the State now, after already receiving compensation, can be seen as double-dipping.

The lawyer further noted that the statute of limitations act prevents the families to now, after seven years, move to the court for further compensation.

The compensation given under the previous government followed a recommendation by a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the matter.

When contacted, Attorney Wade confirmed that the families did receive compensation but argued that it was not enough.

The CoI had recommended that $3 million be paid to Allan Lewis’ family; $3 million to Shemroy Bouyea’s family and $2 million to Ron Somerset’s family.

Some 13 other persons who received injuries during the protest were awarded between $50,000 and $1.5 million.

Justice Cecil Kennard was the chairman of the CoI.

In the lawsuit which will come up for hearing before Justice Brassington Reynolds on February 25, the families of the dead men are making an application for a declaration that the deceased right to life and fundamental right to liberty were breached, encroached and infringed together with a declaration that the police were reckless and used unnecessary force to kill the men.

The men were among a large group of protesters, who were protesting against the increase in electricity rates in Linden.

During the protest in 2012, which turned violent, several buildings and bridges were set on fire allegedly by residents of the mining town. Roads were blocked and persons living in Regions Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) were left stranded for almost a month.